Landscape Ecology

, Volume 30, Issue 5, pp 871–885 | Cite as

Impacts of agricultural changes in response to climate and socioeconomic change on nitrogen deposition in nature reserves

  • J. Kros
  • M. M. Bakker
  • P. Reidsma
  • A. Kanellopoulos
  • S. Jamal Alam
  • W. de Vries
Research Article



This paper describes the environmental consequences of agricultural adaptation on eutrophication of the nearby ecological network for a study area in the Netherlands. More specifically, we explored (i) likely responses of farmers to changes in climate, technology, policy, and markets; (ii) subsequent changes in nitrogen (N) emissions in responses to farmer adaptations; and (iii) to what extent the emitted N was deposited in nearby nature reserves, in view of the potential impacts on plant species diversity and desired nature targets.


For this purpose, a spatially-explicit study at landscape level was performed by integrating the environmental model INITIATOR, the farm model FSSIM, and the land-use model RULEX. We evaluated two alternative scenarios of change in climate, technology, policy, and markets for 2050: one in line with a ‘global economy’ (GE) storyline and the other in line with a ‘regional communities’ (RC) storyline.


Results show that the GE storyline resulted in a relatively strong increase in agricultural production compared to the RC storyline. Despite the projected conversions of agricultural land to nature (as part of the implementation of the National Ecological Network), we project an increase in N losses and N deposition due to N emissions in the study area of about 20 %. Even in the RC storyline, with a relatively modest increase in agricultural production and a larger expansion of the nature reserve, the N losses and deposition remain at the current level, whereas a reduction is required.


We conclude that more ambitious green policies are needed in view of nature protection.


Agricultural adaptation Climate change Land use change Environmental impact Farming system Nitrogen losses 



The authors like to thank Wim Paas (Wageningen University) for the development of the FSSIM dairy model, Joost Wolf (Wageningen University) for his contribution to the linkage between FSSIM with RULEX and INITIATOR and Flip Witte (VU University, Amsterdam) for his helpful comments. This research was carried out within the project Climate Adaptation for Rural Areas (CARE), which was co-funded by the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs as part of the research programme Sustainable spatial development (KB-14-004-025).

Supplementary material

10980_2014_131_MOESM1_ESM.docx (138 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 139 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. Kros
    • 1
  • M. M. Bakker
    • 2
  • P. Reidsma
    • 3
  • A. Kanellopoulos
    • 3
  • S. Jamal Alam
    • 4
  • W. de Vries
    • 5
  1. 1.Alterra - Wageningen URWageningenThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Land Use Planning GroupWageningen UniversityWageningenThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Plant Production Systems GroupWageningen UniversityWageningenThe Netherlands
  4. 4.School of GeoSciencesUniversity of EdinburghEdinburghUK
  5. 5.Environmental Systems Analysis GroupWageningen UniversityWageningenThe Netherlands

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